SC Urged To Ensure Implementation Of National Action Plan

Petition filed by Shuhada Forum Balochistan says attacks on foreign nationals across Pakistan are impacting Islamabad's ties with these countries; deems missing persons issue as trumped up

SC Urged To Ensure Implementation Of National Action Plan

On Tuesday, a petition urged the Supreme Court to direct the federal and provincial governments to implement all points in the National Action Plan 2014.

The petition, moved by the Shuhada Forum Balochistan, has further requested the top court to direct the federal and provincial governments to immediately initiate reforms in the legal, justice, prosecution, and police departments to ensure an expeditious, vibrant criminal justice system and implement the Police Order 2002.

The top court has been further requested to issue directions for the relevant courts to expeditiously decide all pending terrorism-related cases. 

Shuhada Forum Balochistan, an organisation that works to secure justice and security for families of terrorism victims while working for swift justice through expedited judicial proceedings and fair legal investigations in military courts, filed the petition through its lawyer, Advocate Hafiz Ahsan Khokhar. The petition had been moved under Article 184(3) in the Supreme Court and had listed the federal and provincial governments as respondents. 

The organisation has further requested the top court to direct the federal and provincial governments to pay special monetary packages to the families of martyred persons along with ensuring free education for their children.

The Supreme Court has also been requested to issue directions to the federal government to introduce new legislation to control the spread of or promotion of terrorist activities on different social media platforms and the spread of fake news. 

"In addition to the hundreds of military personnel and civilian casualties, thousands of individuals have suffered severe injuries, maiming, and wounds as a result of these horrendous acts for the last many decades," the petition read, adding that Pakistan has lost over 80,000 people to the scourge of terrorism and suffered over %150 billion in economic losses during this time. 

Citing media reports, the petition said that up to 245 terror attacks and counterterrorism operations have taken place in the first quarter of 2024. As many as 432 civilians and security personnel have perished, while another 370 have been injured in these attacks and operations. 

"As per media reports, 2023 was the worst year for Pakistani military and law enforcement in ten years, with over 500 soldiers lost as a result of terrorist attacks and ambushes." 

The petition maintained that the prevailing security challenge has negatively impacted the business environment in Pakistan. The petition also submitted data on the damage caused by terrorism and terror-related incidents from 2001 to 2024.

"China has invested in the Dasu hydroelectric project, which had also seen a suicide terror attack in March 2024 that claimed the lives of five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani chauffeur, and the purpose behind this incident was to destroy the diplomatic and friendly relations between Pakistan and China and to stop CPEC investment in Pakistan," the petition stated.

"Most recently, attacks on April 21 in Karachi on Japanese citizens, through these terrorist assaults, the terrorists seek to damage both friendly and commercial relations of Pakistan with these countries, which should not have been allowed by the federal and provincial governments." 

The National Action Plan was formulated in the aftermath of the Army Public School terror attack on December 16, 2014. A national consensus emerged amongst all political parties and stakeholders to target terrorists through a coordinated national effort. 

In cooperation with stakeholders, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) / the Ministry of Interior developed a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) to combat terrorism and extremism, which Parliament subsequently approved on December 24, 2014. 

The petition stated, "Hundreds of cases involving these terrorists are still pending final adjudication before various forums, including the Supreme Court, which needs to be expedited for their final outcome as per law by the federal government and provincial governments." 

"The federal and provincial governments should identify and prosecute all responsible for their involvement in anti-state activities and especially those who found (involved) in terrorist activities across the country." 

Regarding missing persons, the petition stated that the hidden agenda of missing persons, especially from Balochistan, has always been hunched over state activities for controlling anti-state activities. 

"Many of these missing persons from Balochistan have been found and involved in encounters with securities agencies and fighting against the state or absconded due to their illegal acts, such as the recent incidents in Gawadar, Karachi and Iran have proven, where these reportedly missing persons were found dead in encounters with securities agencies, but their pictures were waved in public meetings and stated to be missing persons from Balochistan," the petition claimed.

"Thus, this issue needs to be seen in this background so that the action against those involved in anti-state activities may not be jeopardised." 

The petition submitted that it is crucial and important that the federal and provincial governments immediately pass laws and regulations that specifically address social media platforms to prevent them from being used by terrorists with infamous goals or for anti-state activities, especially promoting terrorism and fake news in Pakistan.

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain